Vaccine recipents open up on their historic jab

 

The frontline workers who carried the weight of the nation's COVID response on their shoulders have rolled up their sleeves once again - to be among the first in the country to be vaccinated.

A group of 20 Defence and Border Force personnel, doctors, disability care workers, and vulnerable Australians lined up for their jab yesterday in what Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the "curtain raiser" for the ­nation's massive inoculation effort, assembling at a Castle Hill Medical Centre located in a nondescript shopping mall in the Hills.

Staff at the medical centre are at a higher risk of coming into contact with COVID-19 patients, as they also oversee a respiratory clinic where people with COVID symptoms are assessed and tested.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison with the group that received the first COVID-19 vaccinations at Castle Hill Medical Centre. Picture:Justin Lloyd
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison with the group that received the first COVID-19 vaccinations at Castle Hill Medical Centre. Picture:Justin Lloyd

There was a buoyant mood among those gathered for what Mr Morrison described as an "historic day for Australia". The Prime Minister, Health Minister Greg Hunt and chief health officer Paul Kelly bumped elbows in congratulations as the country marked the beginning of the next phase in the pandemic.

Applause rang out throughout the suburban medical centre when Polish World War II survivor Jane Malysiak became the first in Australia to get the jab.

Other older Australians - others who have survived wars and now a pandemic - followed her.

John Healy, aged care resident, was the second Aussie to get the jab. Pictures:Justin Lloyd
John Healy, aged care resident, was the second Aussie to get the jab. Pictures:Justin Lloyd

John Healy, 87, received the nation's second dose, describing the COVID pandemic as "a great pity".

"But if people get this injection and it does what they say it's going to do, it'll be all over," he said.

At 88, aged care resident Laurel Gray was the oldest person to get the jab yesterday. Born during the Great Depression, Ms Gray was one of six children.

After living through COVID lockdowns, Ms Gray - who leads art and crafts sessions in Blacktown's Mullauna Village - has encouraged others to get their vaccine, saying: "Don't be worried. They wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't safe."

Aged care nurse Margaret Strahan hopes the vaccine will bring "reassurance" that future outbreaks can be ­prevented.

Australian Defence Force quarantine worker Corporal Boyd Chatillon: “It’s just that extra level of protection that I can use to give me that redundancy that when I go home to my family they’re safe as well. Anything that we can do to save ourselves and our families is always a good thing”
Australian Defence Force quarantine worker Corporal Boyd Chatillon: “It’s just that extra level of protection that I can use to give me that redundancy that when I go home to my family they’re safe as well. Anything that we can do to save ourselves and our families is always a good thing”

Two Defence Force reservists, who went straight from helping fire ravaged communities in 2019 to fighting the COVID pandemic in 2020, declared the jab gives them an extra layer of protection against falling sick or passing the disease onto their families. "Anything that we can do to save ourselves and our families is always a good thing," Corporal Boyd Chatillon said.

The father-of-three has assisted with contact tracing, and since March 2020 has been deployed to hotel quarantine where he interacts with returned travellers.

Marilyn Jolly: “I would thoroughly recommend everybody having it.”
Marilyn Jolly: “I would thoroughly recommend everybody having it.”

His colleague Corporal Christopher Oakes said the vaccine is "exciting" and an "extra level of protection".

Alysha Eyre, a member of the Australian Border Force personnel working with travellers at the airport, said getting the jab was "really important" for frontline workers.

Her ABF colleague Jon Buttenshaw declared: "(People who get the jab) will be part of the solution, and this is the way forward. So we can travel again".

 

 

Aged care resident Paul Russell gave the jab the tick of approval, saying he "enjoyed the whole experience".

"The more people that get vaccinated the better. My flu jab last year hurt more than this one did," he said.

Not a dose was wasted from four vials of the Pfizer vaccine used yesterday - ­operating at the NSW standard of five doses per vial, 20 people got the jab.

Dr Nigel Grebert, Doctor and GP Respiratory Clinic Testing Collector
Dr Nigel Grebert, Doctor and GP Respiratory Clinic Testing Collector

Castle Hill Medical Centre's Dr Nigel Grebert said the vaccine rollout is "the sort of thing that we've been looking forward to and planning for months".

After getting his jab, Mr Morrison urged other Australians to follow suit.

"It's safe, it's important. Join us on this Australian path that sees us come out of the COVID-19 pandemic".

Mr Hunt said Australians are now set for the work involved to beat COVID-19.

"Australians have stood shoulder to shoulder over the course of the last year, and now they are putting their shoulders to the job," he said.

Disability support resident Brett Rasmussen was the third person in line to get the jab. Picture:Justin Lloyd
Disability support resident Brett Rasmussen was the third person in line to get the jab. Picture:Justin Lloyd

The first doses came a day ahead of the official rollout beginning in NSW.

From today, almost 200 NSW Health staff will be involved in rolling out the first Pfizer jabs to more than 35,100 critical workers over three weeks.

The rollout will occur from three vaccination hubs at Royal Prince Alfred, Liverpool and Westmead hospitals.

 

The initial vaccine phase in NSW will focus on hotel quarantine staff and other frontline workers.

Health staff from other hospitals will begin getting their jabs from today.

In the early weeks of the rollout, staff from Liverpool Hospital will travel to southern NSW to vaccinate other health staff. The vaccination hubs will have the capacity to inoculate between 50 to 100 per hour, although jabs may initially progress more slowly as staff get used to new systems and processes.

The entire process is expected to take about 90 minutes per person.

 

FAMILY LAW DISPUTES IN 'CHAOS' DURING COVID

A "domineering" mother who tried to use COVID as a weapon in a custody battle met her match after she posted a sign on her front door stating her son had to stay home by "Government Order", the Family Court has been told.

The boy's father changed it to read "Mother's Nutty Order" and has won the right to see his son again.

It is just one of the hundreds of emergency disputes involving children being heard in the family courts as warring parents are hit with the emotional and financial impact of the pandemic. One judge has labelled the situation "chaos".

The cases include a frontline worker who had to fight to see her 12-year-old daughter again after initially agreeing it was safer for her to live with her father and a man who has been allowed to return to the UK with his 15-year-old daughter despite the pandemic and Britain's tough COVID lockdown.

 

The Family Court of Australia. Picture : NCA NewsWire / Penny Stephens
The Family Court of Australia. Picture : NCA NewsWire / Penny Stephens

 

Federal Circuit Court Judge Patrick O'Shannessy referred to the "chaos of the COVID-19 regime" as he dealt with a family split between NSW and Victoria and battling the COVID travel restrictions.

Over 430 disputes have been heard as a matter of urgency within three or seven days of being filed since the Family Court and Federal Cir­cuit Court set up a COVID-19 list in April last year.

Families had experienced law disputes as a direct result of the pandemic, Chief Justice Will Alstergren, head of the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court chief judge, said yesterday.

 

Originally published as Vaccine recipents open up on their historic jab

Australian Border Force Quarantine Worker, Alysha Eyre: ”Being on the front line, ti’s really important”
Australian Border Force Quarantine Worker, Alysha Eyre: ”Being on the front line, ti’s really important”
Disability Care Worker Milagros Thomas was the first disability worker to get the vaccine.
Disability Care Worker Milagros Thomas was the first disability worker to get the vaccine.


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